The Dawn of a Bright New Day

2016

I woke up this morning to a new day; a new day in terms of it being a new one in terms of the sun but also because it is a new day for this country. For the first time in recent memory, a non-politician has been elected president of the United States even though he was opposed by everyone from the political elites to the coyotes who charge desperate Latinos big bucks to smuggle them through Mexico and across the border into the United States – including all of the broadcast networks and apparently all of the cable channels, including FOX News, the New York Times, the Washington Post and most large newspapers. But all of those opposing him lost and Trump won.

The media pronounced Hillary queen several months ago, as soon as she declared her candidacy, actually, and “the polls” confirmed it – with three exceptions. Way out on the Left Coast there is a company known as the Rand Corporation, a little known company founded right after World War II by Douglas Aircraft to provide research information to what was then the Army Air Forces. Rand is essentially a high-powered think tank which, over the years, has been involved in numerous projects for the military, industry and health care. Prior to the 2012 election, Rand developed a new polling method. After conducting the poll themselves in 2012, Rand turned the project over to the University of Southern California’s Dornsife Understanding America Study. The Dornsife school conducted the poll this year for the Los Angeles Time. The Dornisfe poll consistently showed that the presidential race was much closer than other polls were showing it. So did the TIPP tracking poll, which only kicked in a couple of weeks before the election. Rasmussen was also showing a closer race. All three polls were discounted by the big name pollsters and the national media.

On the day before the election, I noticed two things that caused me to think that Trump had a chance. The first was that the Dornsife poll showed Trump with a 5-point lead while the TIPP poll showed him a 2 point lead. Rasmussen also showed Trump with a lead. On election day, the Dornsife had Trump favored by 3 points, TIPP remained at 2 while Rasmussen had dropped to -2 – most other polls showed Clinton leading by 3-5 points. I also noted that the Real Clear Politics web page was showing most of the “battleground states” as undecided, with their “no tossup” electoral college map showing Clinton with a less than 5-vote advantage over Trump. I knew that Trump had a good chance of winning the election. History now shows that I was right.

Things have changed. The next event will be Donald Trump picking his cabinet. Of course, the media is going to spin and speculate just as they’ve been doing ever since there was a hint that he might run. Consequently, we really don’t know that much about him because damn near everything published about him came straight from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. They fed information to the so-called journalists and they rushed it into print. According to them, Trump is a rich opportunist who likes to “abuse” women and never pays any taxes. Maybe he’s all of that but there’s a lot more to him. Now, I want to say that I have never been a Trump fan. I never watched his television shows and when some of my friends started pushing him to be the GOP nominee, I thought they were nuts. I early voted for Jeb Bush in the Texas primary but he withdrew from the race before the election so my vote didn’t matter. There’s no way I’m ever going to support Ted Cruz for anything. Once it became apparent that Trump was going to be the nominee, I started paying more attention and realized he was the best candidate of the field. If Trump had not been the nominee, I’m afraid Hillary would be crowing today instead of drowning her sorrows.

Criticism of Trump centers mostly around his views on ILLEGAL immigration. ILLEGAL is the key word here. Estimates of the numbers of illegal immigrants in the US vary, but regardless of how many are here, they are here ILLEGALLY, which means they are breaking the law, which calls for deportation. Since the vast majority of illegals in the US are Mexican, the law naturally comes down hard on Mexicans. Trump – correctly – stated that many of the Mexican immigrants are criminals, particularly rapists, and this is true. I live near Houston, Texas, which has the largest concentration of immigrants in the country, and there is definitely a fairly high crime rate among Mexicans, whether they’re legal or illegal. There’re shootings almost every day and there have been several incidents where Mexican immigrants have raped young girls, most of whom are also of Mexican origin. Are all Mexican immigrants criminals? The answer is obviously no but some are, and there’s no way to screen those who come here illegally.

Then there is the issue of Muslims. Contrary to what many seem to think, Trump has not called for deportation of Muslims. What he’s called for is a – temporary – moratorium on immigration of Muslims from areas where so-called “radical Islam” prevails. Such an action is, incidentally, a right of the Executive Branch. Contrary to the insinuations of the Khan man, immigrants who are not citizens have no rights and the Constitution does not address immigration at all. Immigrants are actually guests of the United States until they complete the citizenship process and become citizens and thus entitled to the rights of citizens as expressed in the Bill of Rights and other Constitutional amendments. Until that time, they are still citizens of whatever country they came from and have no Constitutional rights.

A lot of criticism has been directed at Trump over his announcement that he  will build a wall along the Mexican border. Now, the Mexican border runs from a few miles from Brownsville, Texas some 1,500 miles to just south of San Diego, California. The border with Texas is the Rio Grande River, which is so shallow in places a person can wade it – I’ve done so myself.  Just west of El Paso, the border becomes an imaginary line across the most desolate land on the North American continent. Those who wish to cross are required to do so at checkpoints run by both governments. However, the border is porous. Part of it is fenced but illegal immigrants cross practically at will. Some are caught, some die in the desert and some get through. Many are trucked to cities like Dallas and Houston.

imgp1802

Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park – Mexico on the other side

Trump’s wall is not only doable, having a wall along the border would not only provide security against illegal crossings, it would serve to channel those who have the documentation to come here legally to an authorized crossing.

Trump critics like to accuse him of “racism,” but their logic is faulty. “Mexican” is a nationality, not a race, and Hispanic is both a language or a national origin. “Latino” is an invented term for people with a connection to “Latin America,” meaning anything south of the Mexican border with the United States. In reality, Mexicans are of European origin just like Americans. If not, they are Amerindian or mestizo, a Spanish term for people of mixed European and Amerindian ancestry. The ancestors of some Mexicans even came from the United States. Trump is also called a misogynist, which is a gross misuse of a term that means “hater of women.” Trump is anything but.

Some claim that Trump won’t be able to accomplish his goals because of opposition from Congress. Well, I’ve got news for you folks.  Every single member of the House of Representatives was just elected or reelected. Trump critics might want to take a look and see where those representatives came from. That’s right, the same people who voted for those Republican representatives voted for Trump. Members of Congress answer to those who sent them there, not to their political party or their financial supporters.  Trump won’t have any problem getting Congressional support for his programs. So what that he’s lacking in foreign policy experience? What president ever goes into office with such experience? That’s why presidents have cabinets and advisors, both civilian and military. It’s a new day. Hide and watch what happens!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

King of the Wild Frontier

Davy-Crockett1358814911_image_1024w.wdp

Back in the 1950s, Walt Disney’s Disney Land television program aired a series about “Davy” Crockett, the “King of the Wild Frontier.” As a boy of nine, I really wanted to watch the series but being that I was in Training Union and church at Lavinia Baptist on Sunday nights, I was unable to unless I played sick so I could stay home. The series was accompanied by a song that started out “Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee, raised in the woods so he knowed every tree….” Every kid in America was singing it and many lusted for “coonskin” caps and Davy Crockett rifles so they could play at being “King of the Wild Frontier.”

What I didn’t know, or didn’t understand, was that the ‘wild frontier” Davy was king of was right there where I was growing up in West Tennessee (all of West Tennessee was and still is rural except Memphis, Jackson and a couple of smaller cities and towns.) When I did see the series, it indicated that Ole Davy lived in the Smoky Mountains. In fact, for much of his life he lived only some 40 miles from where I grew up and at the same time as my ancestors, who knew him. David Crockett was born in East Tennessee but not in the Smokies. He was actually born and spent his childhood west of the Smokies in the Appalachians southeast of Bristol and Johnson City. Actually, he spent part of that time on the road driving cattle, beginning at the age that many American boys were so enraptured with the Crockett story. He left East Tennessee as a young man and settled initially in Middle Tennessee nearFFayetteville, which is not far from where my MacGowan ancestors settled at about the same time. He moved several times, each time to counties in southern Middle Tennessee and finally ended up near Lawrenceburg. After a creek flooded and destroyed the grist mill he had invested in, he left Middle Tennessee in 1821 at the age of 35 and crossed the Tennessee River to find land for himself and his relatives in the new lands Andrew Jackson and Issac Shelby had purchased from the Chickasaw three years before. He found land on the Obion River in what was then Carroll County, the county where I grew up. According to one recent biographer, the land was owned by his father-in-law, who deeded it to David. A few years later, he was one of a delegation that went to Nashville to propose the formation of a new county out of the western section of Carroll to be called Gibson County.

Crockett’s narrative of his life is available online at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/37925/37925-h/37925-h.htm. It covers his life  up until two years before he left Tennessee to meet his fate in Texas.

In the late 1970s I went to work for Taylor Aviation at the Everett-Stewart Airport at Union City, Tennessee. It is an old airfield, dating back to World War II when it was used as a primary training field. Several of the original buildings remained and were rented to various tenants. One was a somewhat eccentric woman in her late 40s named Mary. The wife of a professor at nearby University of Tennessee, Martin, Mary was an accomplished artist. Her wildlife art was fantastic. I wished then and I wish now that I had been able to afford to buy some. Mary was also a pilot. She either had or was working on her commercial pilot’s license. She loved to fly Taylor’s Piper Arrow, but she didn’t want to fly by herself. Shortly after I went to work there, I went up with Mary. We were flying south from the airport over the Obion Bottom. Mary pointed down and said “that’s Crockett’s Bottom.” After reading Crockett’s narrative, I realized that indeed it was.

IMG_0008

Crockett’s new land was on the edge of what was and still is pretty close to swampland. However, it was very rich land and there was an abundance of game. He sent for the rest of his family and several of his relatives to follow him to West Tennessee and claim land of their own. They did. After building cabins and clearing land, they raised cotton and corn to sell as well as vegetables for their own sustenance. Crockett supplemented his income by hunting bears, both for their meat and their fat which was prized for bear grease. He ranged far and wide around West Tennessee hunting bear. A few months ago when I was in West Tennessee for a family reunion, my aunt rode with us from Jackson, where we were staying, to Huntingdon where the gathering took place. I took a back road that passed by where my grandmother grew up. “There was a tree over there where Davy Crockett killed a bear.” After she said it, I vaguely remembered Daddy telling me something about there being a tree on his grandmother’s place where Crockett had killed a bear. My grandparents lived on that place for a few years before they bought a place of their own. My great-grandfather’s farm wasn’t far from the Obion River South Fork. There is  record in the Carroll County Courthouse where Crockett collected a bounty for a wolf he had killed in the Obion Bottom near Huntingdon.

Crockett was not a wealthy man. In fact, he was often deep in debt. He came up with a scheme to cut timber in the recently created Reelfoot Lake (the lake was created by an earthquake which changed the course of the Mississippi a few years before Crockett moved to West Tennessee) and float it down the Mississippi to New Orleans to sell it. He and his associates cut a large number of trees and constructed a raft. Unfortunately, they had not reckoned on the force of the river. Soon after they cast themselves on to the river, the raft hit a sandbar and came apart, spilling its occupants on to the river. Left with nothing but what they were wearing, the survivors somehow made their way to Memphis where a “wealthy benefactor” bought clothes and a hat for Crockett. The wealthy benefactor was Marcus Winchester, one of the founders of Memphis. Winchester would later be ostracized after he married a beautiful young woman from Louisiana who obviously had negro blood. Shortly afterwards, Winchester convinced Crockett to run for Congress and gave him money for his campaign. As soon as Crockett got to Washington, he drew a bank draft and sent it to Winchester to pay him back.

DavidCrockett

Except when Congress was in session and he was in Washington, Crockett remained in Gibson County until he left for TExas in November 1835.. His last home was near Kenton. In the 1950s during the Disney Crockett craze, the town of Rutherford built a replica of Crockett’s last home and reinterred his mother Rebecca Hawkins’ remains from a nearby cemetery to the site.

Crockett, who detested the “Davy” moniker, spent almost half of his adult life in West Tennessee – from age 35 to age 50. Yet, both East Tennessee, which he left as a young man, and Texas, where he only spent some three months, lay more claim to him. When Tennessee built a state park and named it after him, it was located in East Tennessee near where he was born. Another park was located just outside Lawrenceburg, where he lived for four years before moving to West Tennessee where he spent the remainder of his life except for the last five months.

After David’s death, his family did not move to Texas. Although his son went to Texas, he didn’t stay. He returned to West Tennessee where he remained until just before the Civil War when he returned to Texas with his mother, who died in Texas but lived most of her life in Tennessee. Crockett’s son John Wesley ran for and won his Congressional suit. He lived for a time in New Orleans then moved back to Tennessee where he died in Memphis.

Was David Crockett really the “King of the Wild Frontier?” If he was, it was the same frontier on which my ancestors settled in the 1820s-40s.